Dysfunctional Families

Currently I have a client who is struggling with another family member with mental health issues, who is abusive and disrespectful to all those in the family.
Because of the fear of confrontation with all of the other family members, this cycle of abuse has been accepted as normal and actually allowed to grow because there have never been strong boundaries put in place from an early age. We teach people how to treat us by the things we let them get away with!
This is not uncommon. In fact I have several clients with similar patterns running in their families, so I thought I would talk about it with you here today.
It’s not easy looking on from the sidelines and watching others constantly sabotaging their own lives, let alone ours, knowing that everyone could be happier if only they did what we wanted them to do.
You cannot force someone to understand a message they are not ready to receive.
We can offer advice and try our best to steer others towards a new choice or better decision, but ultimately the change has to come from them.
If you are in a relationship with someone or have a family member who is abusive or disrespectful and they are not willing to change, you are not totally without power. You can influence their behaviour by putting boundaries in place around what you will and won’t accept, disengaging or even involve police if there is a threat of violence. It’s not pretty and it’s not easy, but it may be necessary and can work, if everyone is consistent and willing to work together for the long term benefits of everyone in the family, including the abuser.
This is an arduous journey, and some people may never want to give up their power or their old behaviour unless their is a strong consequence. We can influence their behaviour by about 10%-20%, but unless they have consistent consequences, from everyone in the family, long term change is unlikely.
People won’t change if they are not ready haven’t had enough pain, or simply don’t have the resources or inner belief that it is possible. And they won’t change if they get what they want by threatening and abusing others. It’s called secondary gain. There’s a pay off. You can beg them to stop, but if they get everyone cringing and giving in to their tantrums, why would they stop? They are being trained that it’s OK to be a narcissist and abuse others. This is how they function to get what they want. To them it makes sense.
So don’t beat yourself up. You are not responsible for anyone else’s behaviour, words or actions, they are!
Change yourself first, put yourself first and save yourself. If you start putting strong boundaries in place and change your behaviours, they will have to respond differently to you. They may ultimately change if you are consistent, but if your efforts are being sabotaged by others in your family dynamic, then ultimately you must step away.
Toxic families and relationships are like a cancer eating away at your soul. Staying in abusive relationships (even with siblings) and hoping they will change is futile, and it means you risk losing yourself.
We are all acting on programs from our first 7 years our our life. It’s called the imprint period. Every decision and action we take is guided by the beliefs we gained in those early years which shape our destiny and are the foundation for our self belief, self esteem and self-worth. Those programs determine what you’re willing to put up with in order to get your basic needs met.
Unfortunately dysfunctional families lead to dysfunctional, depressed children who grow up into dysfunctional adults. They go into dysfunctional relationships with other damaged people and perpetuate the cycle. The same issues and imprints run through generations. But you have a choice to stop the cycle, and step outside the box. When you eventually recognise that something doesn’t feel right, that you’re not the crazy one, but in fact the whole family is running on a pattern that is not working, you open the door to your own healing journey.
Each soul has come here to be challenged, to overcome those foundation programs and outgrow them.
Your brain does not stop growing and changing as you get older as was previously thought, it continues to basalt tk the input you allow in. Nothing is set in stone. The more you challenge an old belief, the more it loses its grip on you. The more you do something different in a new way, the more new neural pathways you grow in your brain, and the greater capacity you have to change.
When the student is ready, the teacher will appear! Sometimes that teacher is pain and discomfort. Sometimes the teacher is another person observing and saying “no, you don’t have to accept this as normal, you are worthy, you deserve better”, sometimes it is witnessing others being kind to each other, and becoming the observer that can start our transformation and put us on a new pathway to self-discovery and healing.
We are not meant to sit still and put up with the status quo, we are meant to rise up and expand our consciousness and come to a place of self love and experience joy and peace in our lives. Sometimes we have to fight for this freedom, but you are worth every bit if it!
If your family are afraid to deal with the situation you can talk to them and be more assertive and explain why it’ important but they may not have the capacity to let go of their old patterns. They may not be ready to but the boundaries in place because of their own family history. That’s not your fault.
They may not want to hear you or be ready to receive your message, because it means they will have to take responsibility for their own behaviours and go against what feels familiar. Familiar does not mean good. It means not making change and sometimes nearly surviving. You don’t have to sit around and wait for them, because it may never happen. It’s not your job to fix them or save them, It’s your job to fix and save YOURSELF. Only you can do this.
Each generation’s purpose is to outgrow and become greater than the previous generation. To learn from the mistakes of the past and step out of the shadows of our parents and families and grow to become our own individual expression of ourselves, so we can change the world, simply by being ourselves.
So I’m here every day cheering you on and encouraging you, and helping you see your own light, so you will know that you are worth it. That change is possible. That you deserve. I can only show you the path. I can use tools that I know will work if you open your heart and your mind and take a risk and a leap of faith. But you hold the key.
When you are ready, we can walk together for those first few stops till you find yourself. You’ll fall down again and again, but you’ll keep getting up, and eventually you’ll learn to walk and run at your own pace. And you’ll start to trust yourself. When you understand how amazing and powerful you truly are, nothing will stop you. I cannot force you to understand, just as you can’t force others to change, but once you get it and love yourself enough you will be free.
Nsmaste Dear Ones!
Carol x